The Thankfulness Journal
When I was 25, I felt God challenging me to keep a Thankfulness Diary because there were so many daily gifts and joys. And yet I found myself wanting to skip ahead in life, not being content where I was and missing out on the joy of right now and the many blessings God has given me during this season of life!0
I loved the experience so much that I am now in my fourth year of Thankfulness Journaling! It has blessed me and changed the way I view life!! I love that it makes me see something to be grateful for in every situation! It may be something small like sunshine, chocolate sweetened with stevia, pink flowers, or a cup of tea. It may be something big like salvation for a loved one, bills paid, a loving family, or food to eat.
Nothing is too big or small. But everything must be positive; no complaints allowed! I may record being grateful for grace to face a long day, or that my sore throat was not worse, or forgiveness when my attitude is wrong. But that’s as close to negative as I allow myself to get. :) It’s a wonderful exercise because I am forced to find the good and something to be grateful for in every situation. I am also encouraged to see the smallest of things as a blessing and a gift to me from God. We do this project together.
I would highly recommend this exercise to you! Grab a journal and get started! I like to record daily and have only missed one day since I started 3½ years ago. I do allow myself to make up for missed days by going back and recording things from that day. (Sometimes I look at my calendar to jog my memory.) The nice thing is it doubles as a diary. I love going back and reading the ways God has blessed and worked in my life! This has been such a blessing in my life that I cannot recommend it highly enough!!
“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”—Romans 1:21
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”—Colossians 3:15
“Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”—Psalm 107:8-9
Who is like our God in the heavens?! This is a truth that I am growing more and more thankful for as He leads me along life’s journey. As the children of Israel sang, “The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation” (Ex. 15:2). As believers in the Lord Jesus, we have every reason to give thanks constantly for what He has done and is doing.
One of the things that helps me do just that is by keeping a Thankfulness Journal. This is actually a section in my prayer journal (which also has other divisions such as worship, requests, answers, thanksgiving, etc.). A few years ago, I felt challenged by Psalm 119:164: “Seven times a day do I praise Thee because of Thy righteous judgments.” I started challenging myself to write at least seven things down each morning that I was thankful for. It was amazing; I never ran out of things to give thanks for, and it really encouraged a more grateful spirit in my life. I began to notice more of the blessing the Lord was daily (and hourly) pouring upon my life.
First Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” The will of God is that we have grateful hearts for and in every situation. This brings Him much glory! (In contrast, one of the marking sins of unbelievers is unthankfulness: 2 Timothy 3:2.) This really convicts me, as I want to give the praise and thanksgiving that is due to my infinitely good and faithful Father! We all know this isn’t always easy, when we are facing suffering or difficulties. I am sure you have heard of the story of Corrie ten Boom, who was challenged by her sister Betsie to give thanks for the fleas in their concentration camp barracks. This seemed impossible and pointless to Corrie. (It would to me too!) But they later found the reason why the Lord had sovereignly allowed those fleas in their barracks—so that the Gospel could go forth in that dark and needy place! We are always to give thanks—not only for the countless “blessings” in life—but also for those “blessings in disguise”!
Each November, I take a “Give Thanksx7” challenge, and friends also join in and keep me accountable. Throughout the month, we daily give thanks for seven things. Starting off my day with gratitude really increases my awareness of the gifts God pours out in my life, that normally I may not notice. And regardless what any particular day may bring, a thankful spirit is possible, for the underlying truths of our faith never fail: the Lord’s glorious attributes, His saving work on the Cross, His faithful Word, His eternal promises—and His sovereign will in all things.
Our thankfulness is important to the Lord. In fact it is a command—to “offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15). You see, our thanksgiving to the One “Who daily loadeth us with benefits” (Psalm 68:19) is a form of worship. He deserves all praise and glory, and He is rightly magnified by our praise. It is a sweet incense to Him. He is pleased by it. What an amazing thought!
May our hearts be continually lifted in thankful praise to the Lord as He works in our lives. And may our lips spill forth our gratefulness so that others may hear, and that they too may join us in adoration. A personal Thanksgiving Journal is a perfect way to count our blessings and bring glory to the Lord!
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